Competence, Self-esteem, and Coping Efficacy as Mediators of Ecological Risk and Depressive Symptoms in Urban African American and European American Youth

  • Hazel M. Prelow
  • Scott R. Weaver
  • Rebecca R. Swenson
Original Paper


Structural equation modeling was used to test [Sandler, American Journal of Community Psychology 29: 19–61.] a theoretical model of risk and resilience in an urban sample of African American and European American adolescents. The aims of the present study were to examine whether self-system processes (i.e., competence, self-esteem, and coping efficacy) mediated the relations between ecological risk and depressive symptoms and to determine if pathways varied across ethnic/racial groups. Results implicate self-esteem as a putative mediator of the impact of ecological risk on depressive symptoms for both African American and European American youth. In addition, coping efficacy was a mediator of the link between ecological risk and depressive symptoms for African American youth, but not for European American youth. The evidence supporting competence as a significant mediator of the relation between ecological risk and depressive symptoms was less compelling. Findings suggest substantial similarities in the pathways between ecological risk and depressive symptoms across African American and European American youth.


African American youth Ecological risk Competence Coping efficacy Self-esteem 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hazel M. Prelow
    • 1
  • Scott R. Weaver
    • 2
  • Rebecca R. Swenson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology at the University at AlbanyState University of New YorkAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Arizona State UniversityAlbanyUSA
  3. 3.University at AlbanyAlbanyUSA

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